A recent meta-analysis of several observational studies found a strong association between vitamin D status and schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by one’s inability to recognize what is real. It often results in hallucinations, false beliefs, confusion, and abnormal social behavior.
The prevalence of schizophrenia varies drastically depending on location. Schizophrenia is most commonly found in cold places and high latitudes. It is also more prevalent in people with darker skin color.
Considering vitamin D deficiency is also common in regions of high latitude and among people with darker skin types, this suggests a role for vitamin D in the risk and development of schizophrenia.
There have been several longitudinal studies that have evaluated the association between vitamin D levels and schizophrenia, but a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies has never been conducted.
Researchers recently conducted the first meta-analysis of longitudinal studies concerning vitamin D status and schizophrenia. They reviewed 19 longitudinal studies published between 1988 and 2013 that investigated the link between vitamin D status and schizophrenia.
Of the 2,804 participants from these studies, 65.3% of the participants with schizophrenia were vitamin D deficient. The research team found that vitamin D deficient participants were 2.16 times more likely to have schizophrenia than vitamin D sufficient participants.
The researchers concluded, “Based on the findings of this meta-analysis, we found a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia.”
The researchers call for clinical trials using vitamin D supplementation to confirm the link between vitamin D status and schizophrenia.
Valipour, Saneei, & Esmaillzadeh. Serum Vitamin D Levels in Relation to Schizophrenia : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2014.